Ahobilam

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Ahobilam
అహోబిలం
Holy Site
Upper Ahobilam temple Gopuram
Upper Ahobilam temple Gopuram
Ahobilam is located in Andhra Pradesh
Ahobilam
Ahobilam
Location in Andhra Pradesh, India
Coordinates: 15°08′00″N 78°43′00″E / 15.1333°N 78.7167°E / 15.1333; 78.7167Coordinates: 15°08′00″N 78°43′00″E / 15.1333°N 78.7167°E / 15.1333; 78.7167
Country  India
State Andhra Pradesh
District Kurnool
Elevation 327 m (1,073 ft)
Languages
 • Official Telugu
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
close up shot of Ugra stambham peak at Ahobilam, Nallamala Hills

Ahobhilam (Telugu: అహోబిలం,[1] Sanskrit: अहोबिलम्) also known as Ahobalam is located in the Allagadda mandal of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is located at a distance of 40 km from Nandyal and about 150 km from Kurnool, the district headquarters. There are two temple houses, lower Ahobilam and upper Ahobilam.

According to the legend, this is where Lord Narasimha blessed Prahlada and killed the demon Hiranyakashipu.

Geography[edit]

Ahobalam is located at 15°08′00″N 78°43′00″E / 15.1333°N 78.7167°E / 15.1333; 78.7167.[2] It has an average elevation of 327 meters (1076 feet).

Etymology[edit]

Tamil poems "The Nalayira Divya Prabandham (Tamil:C )" is a collection of 4,000 Tamil verses (Naalayira in Tamil means 'four thousand') composed before 8th century AD, by the 12 Alvars, and was compiled in its present form by Nathamuni during the 9th – 10th centurieshas .In this ten poems dedicated to the god of Ahobilam.These were composed by Tirumangai Alwar (Tamil:திருமங்கை அழ்வார்),Tamil saint Tirumangai Alwar(one of the twelve Alvars,who lived in the 8th Century A.D has composed ten poems in praise of the God of Ahobilam.Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.Vaishanava bhakti literature was an all-India phenomenon, which started in the 6th-7th century A.D. in the Tamil-speaking region of South India, with twelve Alvar (one who is immersed in God) saint-poets, who wrote devotional songs. The religion of Alvar poets, which included a woman peot, Andal, was devotion to God through love (bhakti), and in the ecstasy of such devotions they sang hundreds of songs which embodied both depth of feeling and felicity of expressions (Indian literature(Official Website of Govt of India), Sri Vaishnavam

Aho is an exclamation word. Bhalam (bhalam means energy). It is equivalent of 'oh the mighty energy' and thus aho-bhalam of lord Narasimha swamy. One famous slokam that explains this is:

Aho veeryam! aho shouryam! aho baahu parakrama!

Naarasimham param deivam aho bhilam! aho balam!

Meaning: Oh! what a great valour he has! oh his great gallantry! oh those great powerful shoulders of the greatest of the Gods Lord Narasimha, and what a mighty cave it is! and what a mighty divine strength He has!

Annamacharya also mentions in his slokas about Ahobalam.

garuDAdri vEdAdri

rachachla velasinaTTi ramAvanita eepe
machchikagala alamElumanga eepe
ichchaTi venkaTAdri née ahObalamunandu
nichchalu tAvukonna nidhAnamu eepe

Meaning: She is goddess Ramaa who established herself amidst us. She is Alamelumanga dear to all. She is the eternal treasure established on Venkatadri and Ahobalam

The temple[edit]

Nava Narasimha Kshetram
A pillar at Ahobilam temple in Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh.jpg
Narasimha Swamy
God Name: Narasimha or Prahladha Varadha[3]
Goddess Name: Amritavalli (Lakshmi devi)[4]
Pushkarni: Indra Pushkarni
Vimanam: Vimanam Guha Vimanam
Temple Name: Yogananda Narasimha
Temple Name: Jwala Narasimha
Temple Name: Bhargava Narasimha
Temple Name: Chatravata Narasimha
Temple Name: Varaha Narasimha
Temple Name: Malola Narasimha
Temple Name: Paavana Narasimha
Temple Name: Karanja Narasimha
Location: Allagadda
State and Country: Andhrapradesh, India
Lower Ahobilam Temple Gopuram.

There are nine temples around the Nallamala Forest range, and in terms of sculpture and architecture all these nine temples stands to be an ultimate testament for the ancient sthapathis in planning and sculpting these temples. A few temples can be reached through trekking. Some temples are inside the cave. Some temples are very difficult to trek to. The nine planets that define the human fates are believed to have worshipped these nine Lord Narasimhas to get relief from Rakshashas (demons) and curses of sages for their actions. This is main theme of the work of the great Telugu poet Errana, the “Nrisimha Puranam”. The hereditary powers of the temple rest with the Pontiff HH Azhagiyasingar of Ahobila Mutt. Currently the 45th Jeeyar of this lineage is the reigning Pontiff. Occasionally when HH Jeeyar performs Mangalasasanam (pays respects at the temple) at Ahobilam, the Serthi Utsavam is performed (the Moolavar of Malola Nrusimhar and the Utsavar) are united.

The Nallamala hills are personified as Adisesha with his head at Tirumala, middle at Ahobilam and the tail at Srisailam.

Legend[edit]

According to legends it is believed that when the Devas saw the manifestation of Lord Vishnu as half-lion, half-man, they shouted "Ahobala" (great strength) as well as "Ahobila" (great cave in which the current sanctum is). Hence, this place could be called either "Ahobalam" or "Ahobilam". The mention of this place is present in Brahmanda Purana. The place where Lord Narayana appeared from the stone pillar to kill Hiranyakashipa can be seen in this place. The name of this pillar is Ugra Sthambha, which is now referred as “Ukku SThambha” in Telugu, which incorrectly translates to iron pillar.

Diguva and Eguva (Lower and upper Ahobilas)[edit]

In the lower Ahobila Lakshmi Narasimha Swami is in a peaceful form. The temple has exquisite stone art. The history of Ahobila temple is sculptured in the stone form. Lord Srinivasa himself is said to installed the main deity here. He is said to have sought the blessings of Narasimha before his wedding but finding the Narasihma in fierce form in Upper Ahobila, he is said to have installed the peaceful form in the lower Ahobila. The temple complex also had temples for Adivan Sathagopulu. The sculptures of coronation of Lord Srirama (Sreerama Pattabhishekha), the ten incarnation of Lord Vishnu (Dasavatharas), statues of Poet Annamacharya are present on the walls of the temple. Annamacharya is said to have spent some time here composing songs praising the Lord Narasimha. The great sage Lord Pothuluri Veerabrahmendra Swamy is said to have meditated here to write Kalagnana (the knowledge of the future) which set forth a spiruitual movement. It is a common practice to worship the Prahlada Varada Narasimha (the Narasimha who gave boons to Prahlada) in lower Ahobilam before worshipping Eguva (Upper) Ahobila Narasimha, who is present eight kilometers away on a hilltop inside a cave. After worshipping the Lord, it is another practice to visit Navanarasimhas (nine Narasimhas). The legend says Lord Narasimha, after slaying Hiranyakasipa was roaming around the forest hills of Ahobilam making fearsome laughs and settling at nine places to bless the devotees. Here are the Nava Narasimha temples. Another legend describes when Lord Garuda did penance to see Lord Vishnu in Lord Narasimha form. Thereafter, Lord Narasimha took nine different forms in this hill.

Nine(Nava) Narasimhas[edit]

Route map of Ahobilam Nava Narasimha Temples

Lord Narasimha in nine forms are

Bhargava Narasimha Swamy

This Lord is present on a hillock at a distance of 2.5 km from Lower Ahobilam, with Akshaya (inexhaustible) thertha (lake). Lord Parsurama is said to have performed penance for Lord Narasimha. An worship of the Lord after a bath in the Akshaya Theertha would make the Lord give Lakshmikara (hand possessing Goddess Lakshmi or prosperity) thus blessing in all manners.

Yogananda Narasimha Swamy

This place is suitable for meditation. Prahlada is said to have obtained all the prosperity after meditating upon the Lord here. The compassionate Lord here rescues the people who seek help out of difficulties. ◌™ Chatravata Narasimha Swamy

One of the astrological planets, Ketu is said to have worshipped the Lord here and gained all comforts. People willing to study fine arts seek blessings from this Lord.

Ahobila (Ugra) Narasimha Swamy

This is the main Lord of all Nava Narasimha's and is also referred as the main temple in Upper Ahobilam. Goddess Chenchu (local forest tribe who have been ardent worshippers of the Lord for ages) Lakshmi is with the Lord. Heart-felt prayer to the lord destroys all fear and timidness.

Varaha Narasimha Swamy

Located at a distance of 1 km from Upper Ahobilam,Present with the divine consort Lakshmi, Lord removes the obstacles and ensures success to the worshippers.This temple is also referred as Kroda Narasimha swamy. The statue is in side a small rock cut formation facing the perennial stream of water.

Malola Narasimha Swamy

This temple is present in Lakshmi Parvata (Hill). Goddess Sri Mahalakshmi along with the Lord, bestows blessing on the devotees. Worshipping this Lord brings Brahmananda (unlimited joy) to this world and the higher world.

Jwala Narasimha Swamy

Lord Narsimha appears fierce slaying Hiranyakasipa with his nails. Serving the Lord ensures success in all efforts, marriages are made. Lighting a ghee lamp in the month of the Karthika and meditating on Lord dispels all sins and brings fame and name. This temple is the toughest to reach compared to other Narasimha temples. A small red water pond named "Raktha Gunda Theertham" can be seen on the way to the temple which is said to be the place where Narasimha swamy washed his hands after slaying the Demon.

Paavana Narasimha Swamy

This is said to be the most peaceful form among the Nava Narasimha Kshetras. This is said to Kshetra Ratna (jewel among the Kshetras)and is also referred as Pamuleti Narasimha swamy. Sages have said that the Lord here liberates the devotees from all the sins in the past lives and sins in the current life (knowingly or unknowingly).

Karanja Narasimha Swamy

Serving the Karanja Swamy with three austerities (thought, word and action) brings enlightenment and the Lord bestows all desires.

Every year, in the month of Phalguna Brahmotsavas (ceremonies performed by the Lord Brahma) are held. Apart from this, every month, on the star day of the Lord, which is Swathi, Gramotsavas (village ceremonies) are celebrated. On that day, Thirumanjan Seva (service) is performed with 108 Kalasas(holy vessels) grandly, A lot of pilgrims visit the temple on the auspicious Swati nakshatra day.

Each of these nine forms have a beautiful story woven with strands of myth, fancy legends and epic tales. According to popular belief, one form of the Lord, the Pavana Narasimhaswamy, when offered the prasad returns half of the offering back to the devotee. On these lines, the Jwala Narasimhaswamy is supposed to be the ferocious form. This form personifies the cumulative and intense anger of the God. It is believed that the original site of shrine of Jwala Narasimhaswamy was the mouth of a volcano and it is only the proxy shrine which is accessible to the devotees.

Belief is that the navagrah's attained their power of being the planet by worshiping these deities of Narashimha. It is believed that the people having malefic effect of any planet could get some reprieve by worshiping Narasimha.

Legend also states that Goddess Mahalakshmi took birth as a human in a tribe, named Chenchu Lakshmi and married Lord Narasimha after the death of Hiranyakashpu. Narasimha Jayanthi will be celebrated with pomp and glory. The local tribals celebrate the marriage of Goddess Mahalakshmi as ChenchuLakshmi and Lord Narasimha.

Gallery[edit]

Sri Ahobilam Mahatyam[edit]

The Lord Narasimha is a Vara prasaddhi (One who bestows blessings readily). Hiranyakasyapa (son of Sage Kashyapa) asked for specific boons to ensure his immortality and attained demonic powers due to these boons. Lord Vishnu took form as Lord Narasimha (a complex form of half-man and half-lion) to be able to destroy the demon. Ahobilam is the exact location of the demon Hiranyakashupu's palace, which the epic stories of Lord Narasimha speak of. This place still has remnants, relics and ruins of the demon's palace. The pillar from which the God arose is marked by its base stone and can be accessed after an almost vertical climb up the hill. It is believed that the entire mountain split up into two, due to the impact of pillar getting shattered by God and God rising from it subsequently. The pillar's base stone is thus, on the edge of the cliff. In between the 2 hills is a deep gorge like a cleft. Lower Ahobilam temple deity is said be installed by Tirumala lord Venkateswara himself before his wedding, since the lord of upper Ahobilam has a Ugra (angry) form. There are several Narsimha temples in the surrounding hills like Pamuleti Narasimhaswamy, which are popular among local populations. Lord Narasimha appears in different forms as Ugra Murthi(aggressive form), Shanta Murthy (tranquil form), Yoga Murthy (in penance) and Kalyana Murthy with his consort Sri Chenchu Lakshmi.

Legend of Chenchu Lakshmi[edit]

After slaying Hiranyakashyapa, Lord Narasimha proceeded to the Nallamala forest in his UgraAvataram (aggressive form). The devas were worried about this form and prayed to Goddess Lakshmi to pacify him. She took form as Chenchu Lakshmi, a tribal girl, in the same forest. On seeing her, Lord Narasimha asked her to marry him. She put him through a lot of tests to calm him down completely before agreeing to marry him.

Demographics[edit]

Since Ahobilam is in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Telugu is widely spoken in the town of Ahobilam.

People[edit]

Up to 1954, people of the Chenchu tribe lived as many families collecting honey and bamboos. As of today, there are only two to five families living there. The remaining families have relocated to different places in Kurnool district.

Transport[edit]

It is conveniently accessible by bus from Nandyal, Kurnool and Hyderabad. Ahobilam is not connected by rail; the closest railway stations are Nandyal (on the Bangalore-Vizag(Visakhapatnam) route) and Cuddapah (on the Mumbai-Chennai route). There are three routes reaching Ahobilam. Pilgrims from the north can get down at Nandyal, which is a Railway junction from Kurnool, and travel by bus to Allagadda and Ahobilam, which is only thirty miles from Nandyal. The second route is from Dhone which is another railway station and from which one can reach Ahobilam via Banganapalle and Koilkuntla.

The other and easy route is to get down at Kadapa which is a district headquarters and an important railway station in the Madras - Bombay route. From Cuddapah one has to travel to Allagadda, which is forty miles over and from there by bus to Ahobilam

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Varaha Narasimha Swami Temple @ Ahobilam:

Water Stream and Forest (Nallamala) @ Ahobilam: